Chocolate Icing and Yellow Cake Original Recipe

Chocolate Icing and Yellow Cake – Original Recipe
Author Notes: This is the most requested dessert in our family and is from our Auntie in Raleigh, NC. Auntie’s name is Mary Capers Beddoes Barnes and many of the recipes on this site originate from her many years as a gourmet caterer. This recipe was also published in an article in the Raleigh News & Observer 11/17/68.
This cake is the birthday request for many of our family – including: Victoria, Leslie, Bill, Cindy, Olivia, Tori, Justin, Hayes, and Grace-e-roo.

Yellow Cake


  • 3 cups cake flour (sift before measuring)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter unsalted
  • 5 eggs (large ones, if small use 6)
  • ¾ cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 3 nine inch cake pans.
  2. Sift flour with baking powder and salt three times.
  3. Cream butter, then add sugar and beat at medium high for 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating a little after each addition. Add vanilla.
  5. Add flour and milk, alternating between the two. Beginning with and ending with the flour.
  6. Pour batter in cake pans and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto cake racks and cool completely – approximately 40 minutes.

Chocolate Icing


  • 3 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup sweet milk (a little cream makes it extra special)
  • 1 ¼ sticks butter unsalted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt


  1. Melt chocolate in water with salt in heavy sauce pan, over low heat.
  2. Add sugar and milk and mix well.
  3. Cook slowly over medium to medium high heat to 230 degrees on candy thermometer or until a ¼ teaspoon of mixture dropped in cold water forms a softball.
  4. Remove from heat, add butter and do not stir. Let icing cool to about 110 degrees – approximately 1 hour.
  5. Add vanilla. Stir vigorously until consistency to spread. Icing sets up fast and if it gets too stiff to spread add some milk or cream to thin it slightly.
  6. Options: instead of water, use freshly brewed coffee.

Chocolate Icing 1 ½ times recipe

  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • ¾ cup water (or coffee)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Icing 2 times recipe

  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup water (or coffee)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

Alternate Instructions:

  1. Melt chocolate, water & salt in heavy saucepan over low heat.
  2. Add ½ of butter and all of sugar, stirring until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add milk and stir. No more stirring. Turn up heat to just between medium and medium high and bring mixture to a slight boil.
  4. Turn heat down to medium low, put lid on pot and cook for 3 minutes. Remove lid, letting moisture on lid fall back into mixture. Turn heat back up to medium high and put candy thermometer in pan.
  5. When thermometer reaches soft ball temperature of 234 degrees or when icing falls down on itself, or when a drop of icing into cold water will form a soft ball between your fingers, remove from heat.
  6. Transfer icing to a heatproof bowl with wide opening. Add second half of butter and do not stir. Let cool for approximately 1 hour or until temperature reaches about 110.
  7. Add vanilla. Stir vigorously until consistency to spread. Icing sets up fast and if too stiff, add some cream to thin.

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